How to Create a Strong Password
posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 in SHAZAM Blog
Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. In this age of technology, it’s critical to secure the devices and accounts holding your sensitive personal and company information. The first line of defense to protect this information is often your password.
The Elements of a Strong Password
Strong passwords combine letters, numbers and characters to make them harder to guess. The longer a password is, the more possible variations it has, making it harder and harder for cybercriminals to crack.
An extra character could add years to the amount of time it takes for a bad actor to crack the code and obtain your password in a brute-force attack. In these types of attacks, hackers use programs to try various combinations of letters, numbers and symbols in search of the right password. They try multiple passwords in split seconds and are more likely to correctly guess short passwords consisting of only letters and numbers. This technique becomes exponentially harder the longer a password is.
A longer password makes it harder for hackers to guess your password when you add complexity to your already lengthy password.
Making something easy to remember and harder to guess can be as simple as using a passphrase and tossing in a few symbols and numbers that only you know. The extra complexity is worth your time. According to this tool, a complex 12-digit password takes 117,399,454 years to crack. On the flip side, a computer can crack a 5-character password in under a second.
Passwords to Avoid
A good password is difficult for someone else to guess or crack. Generic passwords like “password” or “12345” are easier to guess. In fact, these examples are among the most popular passwords in the world, according to Cybernews®.
A strong password uses the entire keyboard. “Qwerty” is another common password due to these letters being right next to each other on the keyboard. If it’s easy for you to type, it’s easy for hackers to guess.
A strong password is not based on your personal information. Passwords that use your nickname, date of birth or your pet’s name could make you vulnerable to hackers who may find out your password by looking up your public information and social media profiles.
How to Create a Strong Password
Use a password generator.
A password generator is a tool that automatically generates strong, secure passwords. It can help you come up with a sequence of random symbols to use as a password for any device or account needing restricted access.
Choose a passphrase rather than a password.
Passphrases take the first letters, numbers and punctuation to generate what appears to be a random combination of characters. The perceived randomness makes it more difficult to guess or crack by brute force. For example, “Green Bay won the first Super Bowl 35-10” becomes “GBw1stSB3510.”
A different password for each account you own.
Two-thirds of Americans use the same password for multiple accounts. Once that password is guessed or captured, it makes all other accounts with the same password more susceptible to being compromised. Having a strong password for each account limits the potential damage if a hacker happens to get ahold of one of your passwords.
Save yourself a break-in and think about adding a few more characters to your password today.
Article contributor: Nathaniel Andersen, IT Specialist
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